Cancer in the Family

  • The Hope Tree: Kids Talk about Breast Cancer
  • By Laura Joffe Numeroff and Wendy Schlessel Harpham, M.D.
  • Simon & Schuster Children's; 2001, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 068984526X
  • Ages 5 to 10

The serious illness of a parent is challenging to children and families. Based on real situations, the authors have created a fictional support group. The group members are animals of different ages who talk about many universal issues that include: 'finding out', family meetings, and looking for the good amidst the bad. Beautiful illustrations bring these themes to life and support children to blend disappointment with hope. The vignettes offer tools and practical tips that will help children deal with frightening emotions and give them something positive to do to support their mother and the family as a whole. Dr. Harpham's Web site at

  • My Book About Cancer
  • Developed by Rebecca C. Schmidt, M.Ed.
  • Oncology Nursing Society, 2003, 54 pages
  • ISBN: 1890504335: Mother
  • ISBN: 189050436X: Father
  • Ages 3-8

This workbook for children, created by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is available in two versions - one for the child whose mother has cancer and one for the child whose father has the disease. It provides an avenue for young people to explore their thoughts and feelings about the cancer of a parent. Children are supported to create and discuss their own book of experiences. With the help of parents, grandparents, and other loved ones, children can identify their feelings, apprehensions, fears, and concerns as the family progresses through diagnosis and treatment. Developed as well for use by helping professionals.

Order from For those with a mother with cancer (Item INPU0546M) and for those with a father with the disease (Item INPU0546D).

  • Why, Charlie Brown, Why: A Story About What Happens When a Friend Is Very Ill
  • By Charles M. Schulz, Forward by Paul Newman
  • Ballantine Books, 1990, 64 pages
  • ISBN: 0345455312
  • Ages 4-8

When Janice, Linus' eight-year-old friend, is diagnosed with leukemia the Peanuts characters respond with compassion. Charles Schulz tells of the effects that Janice's illness has on her family, her classmates and her friends. With simplicity and honesty, the story dispels myths and can be used to help the child return to class following cancer treatment. Video in English and Spanish is available free and can be ordered through the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572.

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